Monday, November 19, 2012

Bogged down by the middle?

I’ve found myself in the wonderful “I can’t wait to get to the end” euphoria of my novel's third act, and it made me wonder, why was the middle such a chore? I’m pretty sure everyone knows about the boggy, soggy middle of a novel (and if not, go read about them here), but for me it’s something even more than that.

The middle is our time of flux, the world isn’t settled and our futures are uncertain. I hate that time. But when I read a book, I don’t mind so much. Mostly I don’t mind because it isn’t around for any length of time. There’s only a couple hours of reading and viola, out of the middle.

As a writer, this just isn’t the case.

When I get to the middle, I can be there for weeks or even months depending on the project. It’s like this curse that you experience the book so much faster reading it than when you’re writing it, and it distorts the way writers view their work. I think this is why we get into the middle of a novel and lose faith. It isn’t because our work is bad (even though it needs to be edited), it’s because we’ve been experiencing the novel for so long that we can’t imagine anyone else wanting to spend that much time on our novel as well. And that, luckily is why I’m here to tell you: No one will spend that much time on your novel. They’ll read it in a handful of hours (maybe longer, or maybe over days or weeks), but they aren’t going to spend quite so much time with it. So take heart, no one else will spend as long in the middle.

All right, I’m hoping you wrimos and revismos are all on track, and for everyone else, Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. It's funny...when I write the middle is the slog zone. You're totally right. But when I read? The beginning is where I am slow. I will read the first couple of pages and meander through at my leisure. Once I hit the middle, I tear through to the end.

  2. I think I might be abnormal. I LOVE the middle of writing a book, it's where things have either already got tangled,or are about to get tangled! Endings are my problem - trying to undo all the messes I got the characters into!

    1. Want to swap brains for a bit? You can fix my middles and I can tie up your endings. =)

  3. Great encouraging words. =) Just have to push through, eh?

  4. Uh, I'm in the boggy soggy middle and I want out!! LOL. I totally get you. But usually when I go back it's the part I have to revise the least. So maybe I spend more time on it and it pays off in the end?? Who knows.

    Have a great Thanksgiving!

  5. The middle can be scary. I'm there right now, leading up to the end. This book went so much better for me -- but this is equally plot and character based, whereas my historicals were dominantly character. I also did more outlining.

  6. Yep... the doldrums... it's so ugh here and I've been avoiding my computer for days... sigh.

  7. I'd never thought about this before. Very good point.

  8. I always get bogged down by the end, I never know if I'm doing it right. Ah well, I'll get there :)

  9. you summed it up nicely
    the middle is the heart, changes take place, characters evolve, etc
    we put tons of work into it to make the whole journey exciting for the reader =)

    congrats woman!


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